November 26, 2023   7 MIN READ


Rookie Diary With Eli Ricks


With Thanksgiving now in the rearview, the Eagles returned to work on Friday in anticipation of a Sunday afternoon tilt at Lincoln Financial Field with the Buffalo Bills.

The injury-ravaged Bills will look to parlay its Week 11 dismantling of the New York Jets into a road upset over the 9-1 Eagles, returning from a short week in the wake on their win over the Kansas City Chiefs on “Monday Night Football.”

But even with nickel cornerback Bradley Roby returning last week to the starting lineup, rookie Eli Ricks remained in the mix on third-down, garnering 13 snaps. This week, the pair will see a lot of Bills wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Khalil Shakir, the latter of which leads the Bills in yards per catch (16.5). How the Eagles deploy coverage and cover up on the backend will go a long way of stymieing the notorious second-reaction plays of cannon-armed quarterback Josh Allen.

As part of an Inside The Birds “Rookie Diary” series, I’ll be checking in with Ricks throughout the season, learning more about the first-year corner and chronicling his rookie campaign.

On Friday, I visited Ricks at his locker, to chat for a new edition of our season-long series.

We touched on, among many things, including his charity work, performance against the Chiefs,” assessing the Bills’ Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, and uniform musings.

Eli Ricks

Eagles rookie CB Eli Ricks remains in the rotation at nickel cornerback

Andrew: You and Nolan [Smith] on Tuesday teamed up with the Bethesda Project, serving Thanksgiving meals in Philadelphia as part of a luncheon to those less fortunate. What was the experience like for you?

Eli: Yeah. Just really something to do during the off day. When there’s a chance to help out the community, I’m always for it. So, that was really all it was, to be honest.

Andrew: You also did something for Halloween as well, right? Visiting the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in costume?

Eli: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I don’t really like to talk about too much of those things myself because I want the main factor of them just to be going out and doing them. But both of those things were good things that all of us did, and I’m happy we did them.

Andrew: How would you grade your performance in Kansas City?

Eli: I didn’t get any targets. I felt I had good coverage … honestly thought the call was a little ticky-tacky. When I look back at it, I thought the call was a little ticky-tacky. But besides that, I felt I had good, tight coverage. We had a lot of good third down stops.

Andrew: You’ve been tacked with three questionable calls in back-to-back games now. What are the coaching points on those?

Eli: The two in Dallas, those were … but I mean, I think this one was probably the worst one out of all of ’em. I really don’t know what I could have or should have done. Even the coaches kinda didn’t know what to tell me at first. So, just gotta live and learn. But I just gotta know, in these prime time games — both of them — we’ve had refs that led the league in pass interferences. So, I just gotta remember that.

Andrew: Even with [Bradley] Roby back, you still saw some third-down reps in the slot. Was that always part of the plan?

Eli: I’ve been playing at both, and they just tell me to be ready to play at both every Sunday. Sometimes I really don’t know all the way, but I do know I could be in either-or spot before coming Sunday. So, that’s one thing I do know.

Andrew: How has being around a veteran at the position like Roby helped your game? What’s the most notable thing you’ve taken away and applied?

Eli: We clicked when he first got here ’cause we knew a lot of familiar folks out in California. Knew a lot of the same people, so that’s how we clicked. Just a real cool dude, real cool vet. Sees the game from obviously a perspective of experience. So, it’s always good to get pointers from a person like that. And [he] won a Super Bowl.

Andrew: Are you still working with [nickels coach] Ronell [Williams] for nearly two extra hours on a given day?

Eli: Not as strenuous ’cause I feel like I got the position now. But we obviously are still working all the time, and he’s still giving us tips and stuff on what to do. And giving us extra film folders to watch at home, as well.

Andrew: [Bills WR] Stefon Diggs operates from the slot quite a bit. Going in, what are some characteristics that makes him such a difficult cover?

Eli: Good releases and he’s real good at the top of his routes. I would say that. Obviously, an elite wide receiver. Very quick. But we know that’s where the ball’s going to, so we just gotta gameplan around that.

Andrew: What specifics about [Bills QB] Josh Allen stood out to you this week on tape?

Eli: I said this while watching him this week … he throws the football like it’s a baseball. Like, he thinks he can throw it anywhere. He thinks he can put it there. So, just knowing that when I’m going through the game. Obviously, he’s a running quarterback as well. He’s basically a running back. I think the report had him somewhere around 250 pounds. So, that’s one thing I would probably say … real big, strong arm. Believes in his arm, basically.

Andrew: Sunday marks the return of the kelly green uniforms. Do you have a dream-scenario Eagles’ uniform combo?

Eli: I haven’t worn the all-black yet. I would go black tops and I would go white bottoms. Black socks. I just like colored tops and white bottoms. I mean, we got the green and white, but I just think if we did the black and white — with the black helmets — that’d be crazy.

Andrew: You and Josh [Jobe] are close and locker mates. What was your reaction when he made that crucial tackle on [Chiefs PR] Kadarius Toney late in the fourth quarter?

Eli: Oh, yeah. It was a big play. That play, and honestly, plays like that, are plays that change the game. He was tackled inside the five, they had to drive, like, 95 yards or something like that. But, I mean, the play that really made the game, honestly, was when we punted and they had a chance to field it — I think on the two. No. 84 or somebody didn’t field it. Who knows what would have happened if we had to drive 98 yards when we needed to score. And that just made me realize, ‘Damn, that little play right there could have changed the whole game.’ And it didn’t involve the biggest of players on the field. So, just seeing stuff like that honestly made me realize a lot about football.

Andrew: What’s one goal you’re aiming to achieve this week?

Eli: Probably just say — and this is really for all of us — just all get our communication better when we’re out there. Communicate a little clearer and just make sure we’re all on the same page. And before the snap, post-snap, just work on my communication to get it even better.

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for

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